All Things Gardening forum→Japanese Laurel- cut back?

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Name: Bria
Northern VA (Zone 7a)
Houseplants Birds
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Bschmuck
Oct 1, 2020 8:00 PM CST
Hi friends!

So, the plant database images tell me I have some MASSIVE (like 8-10ft tall) Japanese Laurel bushes inherited from original owners of my house. They are really out of control and right up against the house, so I was considering a thorough cutting back. But then I read these are really slow-growing plants and I don't want to ruin them.

What is the best method to cut them back, but not do damage?

Thanks!

PS I know next to nothing about how to manage my garden.

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ElPolloDiablo
Oct 2, 2020 12:25 PM CST
You are right to be careful because Aucuba (Spotted laurel, Japanese laurel etc) is really a slow growing shrub and it may take years to grow back to the same massive size.

However this doesn't mean it cannot be pruned: in fact they are plants that can easily be pruned to control height and spread (especially on female plants). I suggest you prune them back to about 6ft in height and 5ft (if male) or 6ft (if female) in width: always cut back at a leaf joint and you will be fine.

Remember to buy secateurs and a pruning saw that really cut. Cheap Chicom junk will just produce an uneven cut and perhaps break in the middle of the job. Felco #2 secateurs will last you more than a lifetime (I am still using my grandfather's) and a Kanzawa pruning saw is reasonably priced and cuts very well.
The Saviour.

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